Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
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Internal surface representations approximated by reverse correlation

We presented two nai ve observers with 20,000 random-dot stereograms. On each trial, the observers had to indicate the presence or absence of a complex 3D pattern (a large '+' sign in relief). However, unbeknownst to them, the stereograms did not contain any signal, but only disparity noise. Responses and verbal reports indicate that the observers 'saw' the suggested 3D surface configuration in roughly half the trials even though structured local low-level signal was never presented. Using reverse correlation, we derived an approximation of the internal surface-based representations, or templates, that best accounted for the observers' responses. These templates were shown to be spatially well defined and temporally stable. We propose that the 3D surface-based representations that we derived are the first approximations and depictions of the intermediary process that allows the visual system to successfully link degraded, bottom-up signal and high-level, top-down object recognition.



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